New Phosphorylation Sites Identified in Hyperphosphorylated Tau (Paired Helical Filament-Tau) from Alzheimer's Disease Brain Using Nanoelectrospray Mass Spectrometry

Department of Neuroscience, Institute of Psychiatry, London, England, UK.
Journal of Neurochemistry (Impact Factor: 4.28). 01/1999; 71(6):2465-76. DOI: 10.1046/j.1471-4159.1998.71062465.x
Source: PubMed


Paired helical filaments (PHFs) are the structural constituents of neurofibrillary tangles in Alzheimer's disease and are composed of hyperphosphorylated forms of the microtubule-associated protein tau (PHF-tau). Pathological hyperphosphorylation of tau is believed to be an important contributor to the destabilisation of microtubules and their subsequent disappearance from tangle-bearing neurons in Alzheimer's disease, making elucidation of the mechanisms that regulate tau phosphorylation an important research goal. Thus, it is essential to identify, preferably by direct sequencing, all of the sites in PHF-tau that are phosphorylated, a task that is incomplete because of the difficulty to date of purifying insoluble PHF-tau to homogeneity and in sufficient quantities for structural analysis. Here we describe the solubilisation of PHF-tau followed by its purification by Mono Q chromatography and reversed-phase HPLC. Phosphopeptides from proteolytically digested PHF-tau were sequenced by nanoelectrospray mass spectrometry. We identified 22 phosphorylation sites in PHF-tau, including five sites not previously identified. The combination of our new data with previous reports shows that PHF-tau can be phosphorylated on at least 25 different sites.

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Available from: Diane Hanger, Mar 31, 2015
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    • "For this approach to be effective, it is important to identify which of the many Tau phosphorylation events that have been identified in vitro are critical for toxicity in vivo and to establish which kinases phosphorylate Tau in disease states and whether Tau forms resistant to phosphorylation show reduced toxicity. The scale of this task is significant because recent studies have identified 45 distinct sites that are phosphorylated on Tau from AD brains compared with only 17 from healthy brains, with many different kinases capable of phosphorylating Tau in vitro (Morishima-Kawashima et al., 1995; Hanger et al., 1998; Hanger et al., 2007; Hanger et al., 2009; Lebouvier et al., 2009). Moreover, some phosphorylation events will modify Tau in vitro but not necessarily in a manner that is physiologically relevant. "
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    ABSTRACT: Hyperphosphorylation of the microtubule associated protein, Tau, is the hallmark of a group of neurodegenerative disorders known as the tauopathies which includes Alzheimer's disease. Precisely how and why Tau phosphorylation is increased in disease is not fully understood, nor how individual sites modify Tau function. Several groups have used the Drosophila visual system as an in vivo model to examine how the toxicity of Tau varies with phosphorylation status. This system relies on overexpression of Tau from transgenes but is susceptible to position effects altering expression and activity of the transgenes. We have refined the system by eliminating position effects through the use of site-specific integration. By standardising Tau expression levels we have been able to compare directly the toxicity of different isoforms of Tau and Tau point mutants that abolish important phosphorylation events. We have also examined the importance of human kinases in modulating Tau toxicity in vivo. We were able to confirm that human GSK3β phosphorylates Tau and increases toxicity but, unexpectedly, we identified that preventing phosphorylation of Ser404 is a protective event. When phosphorylation at this site is prevented, Tau toxicity in the Drosophila visual system is increased in the presence of GSK3β. Our data suggest that not all phosphorylation events on Tau are associated with toxicity.
    Biology Open 01/2014; 3(1):1-11. DOI:10.1242/bio.20136692 · 2.42 Impact Factor
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    • "Ser262 is phosphorylated in PHF-tau [18,67], and phosphorylation at this site causes microtubule instability and neurodegeneration in models both in vitro and in vivo [15,16,21,29,55]. 14-3-3ζ, on the other hand, was reported to be upregulated in AD brain and localized in neurons with high NFT densities [49,68,69]. "
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    ABSTRACT: b-amyloid peptide accumulation, tau hyperphosphorylation, and synapse loss are characteristic neuropathological symptoms of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Tau hyperphosphorylation is suggested to inhibit the association of tau with microtubules, making microtubules unstable and causing neurodegeneration. The mechanism of tau phosphorylation in AD brain, therefore, is of considerable significance. Although PHF-tau is phosphorylated at over 40 Ser/Thr sites, Ser(262) phosphorylation was shown to mediate b-amyloid neurotoxicity and formation of toxic tau lesions in the brain. In vitro, PKA is one of the kinases that phosphorylates tau at Ser(262), but the mechanism by which it phosphorylates tau in AD brain is not very clear. 14-3-3z is associated with neurofibrillary tangles and is upregulated in AD brain. In this study, we show that 14-3-3z promotes tau phosphorylation at Ser(262) by PKA in differentiating neurons. When overexpressed in rat hippocampal primary neurons, 14-3-3z causes an increase in Ser(262) phosphorylation, a decrease in the amount of microtubule-bound tau, a reduction in the amount of polymerized microtubules, as well as microtubule instability. More importantly, the level of pre-synaptic protein synaptophysin was significantly reduced. Downregulation of synaptophysin in 14-3-3z overexpressing neurons was mitigated by inhibiting the proteosome, indicating that 14-3-3z promotes proteosomal degradation of synaptophysin. When 14-3-3z overexpressing neurons were treated with the microtubule stabilizing drug taxol, tau Ser(262) phosphorylation decreased and synaptophysin level was restored. Our data demonstrate that overexpression of 14-3-3z accelerates proteosomal turnover of synaptophysin by promoting the destabilization of microtubules. Synaptophysin is involved in synapse formation and neurotransmitter release. Our results suggest that 14-3-3z may cause synaptic pathology by reducing synaptophysin levels in the brains of patients suffering from AD.
    PLoS ONE 12/2013; 8(12):e84615. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0084615 · 3.23 Impact Factor
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    • "The list of p-Tau epitopes and Tau kinases presented in this paper is by no means complete or all encompassing, since other sites of p-Tau are yet to be identified, some of which may be unique to the disease. In order to identify all the p-Tau sites, mass spectroscopy will need to be conducted [36], which is by no means a trivial undertaking. Still, our studies are a first step in cataloguing and documenting the different p-Tau epitopes and Tau kinases present in PD FC and striatum, and in DLB FC. "
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    ABSTRACT: Most neurodegenerative diseases contain hyperphosphorylated Tau [p-Tau]. We examined for the first time epitopes at which Tau is hyperphosphorylated in Parkinson's disease, dementia with Lewy bodies and Alzheimer's disease, and also select Tau kinases. Postmortem frontal cortex from Parkinson's disease, dementia with Lewy bodies, Alzheimer's disease and striata from Parkinson's disease, were analyzed by immunoblots using commercially available antibodies against 20 different phospho-epitopes of Tau. Major Tau kinases were also screened. Results in diseased tissues were compared to nondiseased controls. In Alzheimer's disease, Tau was hyperphosphorylated at all the 20 epitopes of p-Tau. In dementia with Lewy bodies, p-Tau formation occurred at 6 sites sharing 30% overlap with Alzheimer's disease, while in Parkinson's frontal cortex, an area which does not degenerate, Tau hyperphosphorylation was seen at just 3 epitopes, indicating 15% overlap with Alzheimer's disease. In Parkinson's disease striatum, an area which undergoes considerable neurodegeneration, Tau was hyperphosphorylated at 10 epitopes, sharing 50% overlap with Alzheimer's disease. Between frontal cortex of Parkinson's disease and dementia with Lewy bodies, there were only two p-Tau epitopes in common. In striata of Parkinson's disease, there were 3 clusters of Tau hyperphosphorylated at 3 contiguous sites, while two such clusters were detected in dementia with Lewy bodies; such clusters disrupt axonal transport of mitochondria, cause microtubule remodeling and result in cell death. p-GSK-3β, a major Tau kinase, was activated in all brain regions examined, except in dementia with Lewy bodies. Activation of other Tau kinases was seen in all brain regions, with no clear pattern of activation. Our studies suggest that the three neurodegenerative diseases each have a signature-specific profile of p-Tau formation which may be useful in understanding the genesis of the diseases and for the development of a panel of specific biomarkers.
    PLoS ONE 09/2013; 8(9):e75025. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0075025 · 3.23 Impact Factor
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